Monday, November 07, 2005


Sunday of the Maclay Finals

I considered myself lucky Sunday morning (the morning of Maclay finals) when my trainer said I had to be at the barn at 5:30 am. This was a gift compared to the 1:30 am or even 3:30 am times I had arrived there these past few days. I brought my equitation horse Chagall to show here and my trainer Andre was nice enough to ride him for me that morning. In the class, I went 56th in the order and I was quite pleased with my round, except for one jump where I had a rail. That was a little disappointing because I felt that overall my round was quite good and this mistake would obviously count against me. I ended up being called back 18th going into the flat phase. After that, I was moved up to 11th place, which for me is a victory in itself because I struggle on the flat sometimes. I do not have the typical equitation body type so I have to work extra hard with my trainer on my position. Lucky for me, I have a very beautiful horse so he helps the overall picture.

We then had to wait 2 hours while the $50,000 Animal Planet Sport Horse Cup took place so it was a little nerve-wrecking waiting all that time for the second round. I was the 7th rider to return (there were 18 total and it came back in reverse order) and I felt that my second round may not have been as good as the first, but still pretty solid. The main problem with this round was that my horse really rubbed about 3 or 4 jumps so that took away from the overall smoothness. I think Chagall was just too tired! These horses do a lot at a show like this, or at any finals. I didn't end up getting a ribbon which I was a little disappointed about but I felt good about myself and my riding so I was pleased.

Earlier in the week, I had shown in the $40,000 Jr/AO Grand Prix on one of my jumpers Lavaro and I placed 3rd. The next day I also did another jumper class, the $15,000 Pro Team competition, on my horse Jerremy. The best 3 scores were counted and also the fastest times. Our team, consisting of me, Haylie Jayne, Sarah Segal, and Margie Engle (our professional), placed first because we had 3 clear rounds and really fast times. This weekend I won a lot of prize money, all of which I donate to Just World International. I am a junior representative for the organization.

Because of all of these events, I feel that I had a pretty great weekend. Of course when the Maclay was over, I shed a few tears because it is the end of a great junior career for me. The hardest part of aging out for me is that I love my equitation and hunter horses so much and it is almost an unbearable thought for me that I will have to part with them in the next couple weeks. Even still, I feel that I have accomplished so much over the years and I'm looking forward to hopefully many jumper successes in the years to come.

Photo Caption: Natalie Johnson in the Maclay. Copyright 2005 by Nancy Jaffer.

Wow! I can't imagine what a pressure-cooker experience riding in the Maclay must be--Natalie, you must be relieved in a way that it is over, even though you are sad to give up your junior horses. Can you tell us about George Morris's speech to the riders? I read that it was really terrific. Thanks for doing the blog--it's great to get inside an event like this.
Hi Natalie - thanks so much for the insider info on the Maclay. Can you tell us more about your horse?
hey Natalie, I know Maclay is over but :) just wanna say i'll be watching for you on HorsePower Tonight's show was fantastic, i do a lil riding myself, 17 so yeah :( I'm leaving the jr circuit behind soon also but oh well, I got bigger dreams ahead so yeah :)
take care of yourself and your ponies
luv steve
Your horse is beautiful. Congratulations on your success.
hey natalie! i just wan to say great job.. you have wonderful equitation. Congratulations. As for Chagall being tired ; well it happens sometimes =/. well thanks for posting
Wow! You are truly an amazing rider! Chagall is abeautiful horse. How much does a horse like Chagall cost? I know its a lot but I think it would be worth it for such a beautiful equitation horse.
You and ur horse are amazing! I had fun watching the show and watching how good you and Chagall did. I have an amazign eq./hunter horse myself, but I was wondering, about how much does it take to get into the bigger shows like the Maclay.
Sup, Natalie? You are a truly amazing rider! I watched you last night(March 8,2006)I do lots of horseback riding myself, but I stopped jumping a couple years ago, because,
I rode a little pony gelding and he was a from the meanest! So I preety much got of to the wrong start on the wrong horse! I have wanted to start jumping agian..btu I never ask my instructor because I'm to scared to start jumping (I do ride an Arabian too, and he's old but he's still jumpy!) but after watching you ride that night I really determined to start jumping! You are such a insperation
and I KNOW a lot of riders would like to be like you! You and Chagall looked perfect you guys just blend in with each other that looks so beautiful! I better get ready for school, but I know what my next goal is!
WOW Natlie, I loved watching you ride with Shegal! I ride horses too, and I ride at Kizmet farms in Martinez CA. I hope I can one day be in the Maclay!You and Shegal also look great together!
You guys were awesome. I love your horse, Chagall!
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